ATHENS, WV (LOOTPRESS) — Concord University students and faculty have again this year offered free tax preparation to eligible individuals through VITA, the Income Tax Assistance Program volunteers. VITA is sponsored by the IRS and is provided free to people who generally earn $58,000 or less per year.
Students received training using IRS materials and took certification tests to show they understood tax law before they began preparing returns. This year, Concord had 17 students enrolled in the class. Many of these student volunteers are accounting majors.
The VITA Volunteer of the Year was Bethany Burks of Bluefield, W.Va. Bethany was honored for her outstanding work as a tax filing volunteer. There were also five distinguished volunteers, Haven Chapman, Beaver, W.Va., Savannah Groom, Princeton, W.Va., Sydni Lynch, Princeton, W.Va., Aubrie Peyton, Princeton, W.Va., and Alex Watty. , Christiansburg, Virginia.
Other freshman student volunteers included Breanne Fields, Princeton, W.Va., John Forinash, Beckley, W.Va., Ella Goodwin, White Sulfur Springs, W.Va., Chasity Humphrey, Oak Hill, W.Va. , John Merica, Bridgeport, W.Va., Bryce Mutterback, Princeton, W.Va., Gavin Pruett, Narrows, Va., Trey Spence, Peterstown, W.Va., Keegan Webb, Oak Hill, W.Va., and second year student volunteers Danielle McCoy, Princeton, W.Va., and Emily Peck, Princeton, W.Va.
Full-time faculty members Dr. Logan Browning and Dr. Kenroy Wedderburn also volunteered, as well as Ms. Shelly Stump, who served as VITA site coordinator.
The students spent more than 500 hours in total preparing for the return. Over 250 people received the service with 241 federal returns and 238 state returns filed electronically. Feedback was prepared at the CU campus in Athens and for the Commission on Aging at Princeton.
“The VITA program is so beneficial to our community,” Stump said. “Through this free program, individuals in our community have had their returns prepared for free.”
“The community seemed so grateful for our efforts,” she added. “I cannot thank the community enough for taking advantage of our services. This provides a valuable learning experience for our students.
In appreciation for the community service the students provided, Dr. Kendra Boggess hosted a reception at the President’s House on April 12. At that time, Ms. Stump presented a plaque to Bethany Burks as VITA Volunteer of the Year and honored the five distinguished volunteers. Each student who volunteered received a certificate of participation and a VITA pin.